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MC cheerleading chants their way to 8th in the nation

April 15, 2011

Monmouth College cheerleaders attended nationals in Daytona, Fla., last week and placed 3rd in the “Challenge Cup” and 8th overall.

This was their first year of competition.  After qualifying for nationals by performing a short routine early in the season at an National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) camp over the summer, they were given months to prepare a three minute routine for their first nationals experience.

Thursday was the first round of competition, in which they could have placed in the top five, taking them straight to the final round, or the bottom five, in which they must first compete in the “Challenge Cup” competition, the winner of which would continue on to the finals.

“We ended up with 8th place overall; 3rd in the Challenge Cup itself,” said senior Kate Runge. “We spent the majority of our extra time practicing and watching the other squads perform. Inspirational was an understatement. I truly saw some of the most talented athletes perform and show off their skills. At nationals we made some mistakes and definitely had room for improvement, but regardless words can’t express how proud I was of everyone on the squad. Unlike any other sport, we work all season to get three minutes to prove ourselves.”

The squad also had the opportunity to witness Division I schools compete.

“Seeing their high skill level inspires me to try even harder,” said sophomore Nina Marini.

In addition, the squad was able to observe a “stunt competition” a new developmental sport among cheerleading in which competitors are judged solely on their stunts and athletic abilities.

“It included numbered jerseys, quarters, a half time, a head official, and even elements of possession and even scores,” said Runge. “It was amazing to get to watch the future of the cheerleading world begin. Overall it was a huge honor and privilege for our squad even to attend.”

In the future, the squad is looking at this as a learning experience.

“For next year I feel that we will work on combining different stunts together,” said junior Brittany Forney.  “I also think that we will work on our tumbling more and getting the crowd more involved.”

Marini has a similar idea, “I would say what we need to focus most on is our timing. Being prepared is everything when it comes to competition and this year crunch time came a little bit too late. I think that if we would have buckled down and ran the full routine a little earlier in the year that we would have seen more success in Florida.”

Anyone interested in trying out for cheerleading next year should contact coach Halberg at khumann@monm.edu. Tryouts begin May 1 at 1:30 p.m. in the Huff Athletic Center. Registration starts at 8:45 a.m. and a clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

BY JENNELL ODDO
Contributing Writer

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